Despite improvements in obstetric care, women in poor neighborhoods are more likely to give birth to very premature infants than mothers from the richest areas, is a study published on the website of the British Medical Journal.In developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, prematurity is a major cause of infant mortality. The risk of death are highest among those born very preterm (before 33 weeks of gestation) and those in disadvantaged areas.
For example, researchers at the University of Leicester is committed to assess the socio-economic inequalities in terms of survival and neonatal care in very premature infants in the United Kingdom.
These results highlight the urgent need to better understand the link between deprivation and risk of premature delivery, say the authors.
This study did not examine individual factors such as smoking, ethnicity and history of previous preterm delivery. They believe that future studies should focus on the interaction between preterm birth and determinants of health inequalities.
“Progress in the prevention of preterm birth and generally reduce the socio-economic inequalities in preterm birth is unlikely to occur without an understanding of the role of socio-economic factors,” said Ron Gray of the University of Oxford and Marie McCormick Harvard School of Public Health in an accompanying editorial.
They followed 7449 children born very prematurely born from 1998 to 2007 in the old part of England in the workplace from Trent until the release of neonatal care. A deprivation score was calculated for each child using your postcode.
As such, the authors believe that understanding the link between deprivation and risk of preterm birth should be a research priority. “It seems very likely that this work could lead to public health strategies to reduce costs, not only of neonatal care, but also committed to the health problems suffered in the long term some of these children,” they conclude.
Their results show that the mothers of the most deprived areas were almost twice as likely to have a baby very early compared to those of the least deprived areas and, therefore, there were nearly twice as deaths due to preterm birth in the most disadvantaged.
However, among very preterm infants, survival rates and the provision of neonatal care showed little variation between the measures of deprivation. This suggests that although the socio-economic inequalities in preterm birth rates persist, deprivation does not seem to be a barrier to accessing and receiving neonatal care.
The authors note that the data come only from one English region, with about 54,000 births per year, with a number of births in Britain 12, so the results can not necessarily be extrapolated from different locations. However, Trent has a particularly good set of data prospectively on births.
Little is known, however, about the survival of very preterm infants varies with deprivation.
However, survival rates and treatment was similar for infants in all areas, suggesting that the provision of neonatal care is right.
A conclusion in contrast to many other areas of health, where the socio-economic inequalities in terms of survival and access to care are common.